The Shenandoah River is low and clear which only makes us work harder and smarter to catch some nice smallmouth. My first tidbit of advice is to access the water before entering it. Where should the bass be and why? Then decide where you should be standing. Never stand where you should be fishing. This is one of the things that we cover in our smallmouth bass fly fishing schools. Secondly with the water being low and clear, be sure to wade carefully so you are not sending out waves alerting each bass along the way that you are in the river. The big bass did not get that big by being dumb. Lastly, if your schedule permits try to be on the water early morning or late in the evening. If that is not possible, then fish along the shady banks on these bright sunny days.
If you are fishing streamers and find them dragging on the bottom, then switch to a fly that is slightly lighter, which is what we have been doing this last week. The Shenk's White Streamer size 6, Murray's Dying Dace Minnow size 6, Murray's (Regular) Hellgrammite size 6 and Betsy Streamer size 8 are slightly weighted but not as heavy as some of our other flies. For topwater flies use a Shenandoah Blue Popper or Murray's Bass Popper (frog) on a Bright Butt 9ft 2X Leader. My son likes to use these Poppers and then attach a smaller fly such as a Mr. Rapidan Soft Hackle Nymph (olive) size 8 or Dragonfly Nymph below as a dropper. Experiment with it and see what works for you. We just got a new series of Poppers in stock in 6 different colors. Check them out!
The North Fork of the Shenandoah River is clear and fishable. Several streams feed into the North Fork upstream of Edinburg so the water levels are better from Edinburg downstream to Maurertown. I would recommend wading instead of floating this Fork. The South Fork of the Shenandoah River is clear and fishable for either wading or floating. My recommendation would be to combine a float/wade trip so that you are covering all areas of the river. The water temperature is warm enough that most everyone in the fly fishing school last week was foregoing the waders and just wading wet with wading boots.
--Learn to Fly Fish in our Half Day Fly Fishing Lessons. Rod/reel outfits are provided in this basic lesson held on the Shenandoah River.
Up Coming Dates: July 8, 12, 22, 26 from 9a.m. to 1p.m.